James Wan is the godfather of The Conjuring universe, having directed the first two installments in the series. That said, he has also handed the reins off to other filmmakers as the spinoffs like Annabelle and Annabelle: Creation have debuted, showing new artistic touches with each passing installment. However, it seems that he still likes to get his hands on these films, as he actually served as the second unit director for The Nun. Director Corin Hardy opened up in a recent interview and said:
Very excitingly, James Wan was my second unit director in a little bit of additional photography. It is funny, but we did some additional photography, and you're always pushing for double what you really can afford, time- or budget-wise. I said, 'I want to do all of this, but if we're going to do it, we really need to run two units.' James is a full-on, hands-on guy and he was like, 'Anything I can do of service!' It was like, 'I really want to take you up on that.' So, there were nights when he was shooting a section in the forest and I was shooting interiors.
So while The Nun sounds like it's still very much Corin Hardy's baby, James Wan was "of service" during production to help create a more efficient process. By serving as a second unit director, the Aquaman director would go off on his own and film some exterior sequences, which saved time and allowed Hardy to handle other scenes that needed more work. Second unit directors are essential parts of the filmmaking process, as directors cannot be in two places at once. They help get extra coverage as needed, but Corin Hardy was particularly fortunate because he had the franchise's mastermind helping to get those shots in the can.
Of course, this is far from the first time that an A-list director has gotten behind the camera for someone else's film. Steven Soderbergh reportedly worked on The Hunger Games movies as a second unit director, and Quentin Tarantino famously filmed sequences for Robert Rodriguez's Sin City back in 2005.
The Nun is set years before the events of Annabelle: Creation, making it chronologically the first entry in the Conjuring universe. Set at a church in Romania in the early 1950s, the film follows a priest (Alien: Covenant actor Demian Bichir) as he investigates a mysterious haunting after the death of a nun. Along the way, he discovers the presence of Valak (the demon introduced in The Conjuring 2) and is forced to battle the supernatural to save the soul of a nun named Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga). Annabelle: Creation teased the eventual storyline of The Nun last year, so having James Wan (essentially the point man of this entire fictional landscape) get as hands-on as Corin Hardy explained in his interview with EW likely helped in the long run.
CinemaBlend will bring you more information related to The Nun as new details about the film are made available to us. The Conjuring universe spinoff will premiere in theaters on September 7!